Blog 1: Servers need soul too

September 5, 2001 This page is where, after a long day at work, Pressflex kicks back, opens the windows, turns up the radio, invites friends over, whoops a little and listens a lot.

We wish to explore and catalog the potential of some of the technology we use. What makes a blog so engaging? What happens when search engines suck a newspaper's morgue of past issues into the texture of daily life? How do you start a magazine online? Are site statistics useful to journalists?

More broadly, what new species of human experience may emerge from this bubbling global soup of electricity and enzymes?

Because we love the publishing business, we will often focus on the ever-expanding implications for publishers of the 50-years-young computer revolution. Call us old-fashioned. Call us ink-stained wretches. We don't mind -- we are convinced that paper and ink will be integral to the next age. (If the year is 2014 and you just found this page via a Google search, please write to tell us how we turned out.)

Much of this page will be devoted to directing your attention to interesting articles or commentary.

So too today. Here's Christopher Locke, gonzo Internaut, deriding the way companies try to communicate online:

"You know if you walked in to a party that you've been invited to by some friend, and you went and you started acting like a marketer, I mean they'd throw you out. And that's kind of what's going on here. You've got all these parties going on and here come these clueless guys in suits with their canned spiel and we're going, why don't you tune into to what's going on at this party, why don't you meet some new people and shut up for a minute? You know, get a feel for who your neighbors are and maybe you'll make some new friends. But, man if you just keep up that sales pitch, nobody wants to hear you."

Read the full interview at You should also see Locke's own, and Nick Denton's Blogorama, where I originally found the link to Locke's diatribe.

The Internet engages people best when it challenges, entertains, informs and alerts. There are a lot of funny or brilliant or articulate people online. Their discourse is often enthusiastic, spontaneous, lively... and sometimes goofy or illinformed.

To compete in this ecosystem, a publication's web site must feel like a human expression rather than a corporate excretion. Right now, too many sites feel like the latter.

To close this first blog, it might be fun to splice in a little Net history -- click for a spotty version of the 1984 Super Bowl advertisement for the Apple Macintosh , the ad that portrayed a massive TV-clad face preaching to huddled drones:

"For today, we celebrate the first glorious anniversary of the Information Purification Directives. We have created, for the first time in all history, a garden of pure ideology. Where each worker may bloom secure from the pests of contradictory and confusing truths. Our Unification of Thought is more powerful a weapon than any fleet or army on earth. We are one people. With one will. One resolve. One cause. Our enemies shall talk themselves to death. And we will bury them with their own confusion. We shall prevail!"

As the speach ends, a dashing young woman hurls a sledgehammer... the face explodes... the drones are free.

Do you agree?

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The OECD Observer magazine has jumped from being invisible to being highly ranked on the world�s main search engines. Pressflex has done what it said it would do when we teamed up in 1999.

Rory Clarke Editor, OECD Observer